Gilbert Felli Q&A
Olympic.org talks to Gilbert Felli, the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, about the complexity of organising the Games and how the IOC helps Organising Committees prepare.
Q. People often say that the Olympic Games are the most complex event in the world, how would you describe it?
A. It’s true; it’s very complicated. You have a concentration of events – about 41 world championships to organise at the same time – and all these events are watched by a lot of people. The Games is the heart of the world for two weeks. Also, there are always new ways of doing things, with technology for instance, so it is constantly changing.
Q. What is the IOC doing to help manage the cost and complexity of organising the Games?
A. First of all we try to make sure that we provide the organising committees with all the necessary information, through our Technical Manuals, so they know what they have to do. We also have the transfer of knowledge programme, where we bring in people who have done the job before to advise the organising committee. Then we also meet regularly with the organisers and experts throughout the process to help guide them. We work in partnership with the organising committees to make sure that they’re moving forward in the best way possible. However, we realise that it is a different context for every Games – we have different countries, different laws, different cultures – so that also makes things more complicated, but we are learning all the time.
Q. How important is the transfer of knowledge programme for Organising Committees?
A. According to what they tell us, it’s a fundamental resource. They always appreciate all the information we give them and all the support we provide. They really recognise the value of the transfer of knowledge programme.
Q. How else does the IOC help Games organisers?
A. First of all we provide a financial contribution to the cost of organising the Games. We also offer them technical support, for example with the broadcasting systems through Olympic Broadcasting Services or through our technology partners.
Q. For a number of years, the IOC has been asking host cities to look at legacy from the start of the bid phase. Do you think that we are seeing this approach starting to bear fruit?
A. I’m convinced that bid cities and Organising Committees are making legacy an important part of their plans. It’s now part of the DNA of bidding for the Games. During the bid process, we look at this very closely with the bid cities. And as soon as they win the Games, one of the first things we discuss with them is legacy and then we try to monitor that on a regular basis.
Q. During London 2012, how is the IOC helping future organisers prepare for their own Games?
A. We have about 500 people here from the future Organising Committees and we have a functional programme for them where they can review things such as the sports department, the transportation, venues, or client relationships.
Q. Have you been impressed by the work of the London 2012 Organising Committee?
A. The organisers had a good understanding of what they needed to deliver and they also have a good vision for the Games and for legacy. They have also engaged the British public very well to get behind the Games.
Q. What have you enjoyed most about the Games so far?
A. The atmosphere in the city has been great. The British public love sport. The support for the athletes in the venues has also been great, and the athletes seem very happy.